Board of Education speaks on teacher accused of sex crimes with students

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — After staying relatively silent since Roland Grise Middle School band teacher Peter Frank’s arrest, the New Hanover County School Board welcomed the media Thursday to ask questions.

However, little to no new information was shared.

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The board did say that Frank was still suspended without pay. They say because he is tenured, there are some legal hoops to jump through before he can be fired.

While Board Chair Lisa Estep says the goal of the presser was to give an update on Frank, Board Member Judy Justice says she wasn’t even notified the news conference was happening.

“I found out about this news conference when I was walking my dog and a reporter called me. I wasn’t even informed earlier,” Justice says. “I still have questions I haven’t had answered and I’m a board member. And that’s even from other board members.”

Estep did share that the board is considering releasing parts of Frank’s personnel file. Besides announcing this possibility, the board only repeated that Frank was suspended without pay, news that was already released.

“We acknowledge that a third arrest for sexual abuse in less than two years is jarring and concerning to everyone,” Estep says.

On Tuesday, WWAY reported that a parent, Lynn Shoemaker, claimed she reported Frank’s alleged abuse to the board nine months ago, though she did not include his name.

Board Member Bill Rivenbark seemed to think Shoemaker should have done more.

“If there’s a parent out there that says they knew something, reported it, and then just dropped it, then I’ve got a problem with that,” Rivenbark says.

The board says anyone with concerns about a school employee can report those anonymously.